ACT Events + Public Programs in 2017

ACT’s Lecture Series
Artistic Research Luncheon Series
Arts on the Radar
ACT Graduate Open House

For the past eight years, ACT’s Lecture Series has drawn together artists, scholars, and other cultural practitioners from different disciplines to discuss artistic methodologies and forms of inquiry at the intersection of art, architecture, science, and technology. Each spring and fall semester brings a different thematic focus and the format for each event shifts depending on the visitor(s) and the nature of their presentations and performances.

Spring 2017 Lecture Series:
Double Agents

What makes a double agent in art? What drives them? ACT’s Spring 2017 Monday Night Lecture Series, Double Agents, invites three renowned artists whose respective works provoke and thrive in the tension between competing systems of power, production, and exhibition. At play in these discussions is the role of ethics in political art amidst shifting forms of governance, suppression, and repression. This series included:

Feb 13 | Jill Magid | Permission as Material 

With responses from Hashim Sarkis (MIT, Dean of SA+P) and Lars Bang Larsen (Curator)

Jill Magid is a widely celebrated MIT alumna now based in New York City. Her dynamic practice is deeply interrogative, forging intimate relationships within bureaucratic structures—flirting with, seducing, and subverting authority.

March 13 | Tania Bruguera | Can Aesthetics Disarm Oppression? 

Co-hosted with MIT Global Studies and Languages (GSL)

With responses from Paloma Duong (MIT, GSL) and Laura Genes (MIT, SMACT ’18)

Tania Bruguera is an American-Cuban installation and performance artist and the current Elizabeth S. and Richard M. Cashin Fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her practice and research explore the ways in which art can be applied to everyday political life and civic literacy.

April 24 | Pedro Reyes | Art as Conflict Resolution 

With responses from Doris Sommer (Harvard, Cultural Agents) and Lawrence Susskind (MIT, DUSP)

Based in Mexico City, Pedro Reyes joined MIT in 2016–2017 as an ACT lecturer and the inaugural Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist at CAST. His practice is highly eclectic and socially minded: he produces sculptures, theatre, musical instruments, puppets, therapy sessions, graphic novels, and many other things to promote social and economic justice, particularly in Mexico.


Fall 2017 Lecture Series:
The Edge of Knowing and Un-Knowing

The fall 2017 ACT Lecture Series invites renowned artists and philosophers to help us challenge our habits of perception and expand our margins of thought. Artistic intelligence is drawn to the fertile edges of knowledge, engaging radically anticipatory modes of being, thinking, creating, and acting without certainty. The series will offer models for un-knowing science and technology as a way to dislocate and re-articulate knowledge production in proximity to technologies of planetary threat: how to navigate the camouflaged, the unknown, the deceptive, the trumped. This series included:

Sep 11 | Trevor Paglen | The Planet is a Sensor 

With a response from Jessica Varner (MIT, HTC Visiting Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)

Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. Among his chief concerns are learning how to see the historical moment we live in and developing the means to imagine alternative futures.

Sep 25 | Cristina Ricupero | Don’t Believe A Word I Say 

With responses from John Tirman (MIT Center for International Studies) and Ilaria Liccardi (MIT CSAIL)

Following Cristina Ricupero’s special interest in the mechanisms of contemporary secrecy, she will focus on espionage, a topic she has been currently developing for an exhibition project with Alexandra Midal (independent curator and professor at the design program at HEAD-Haute Ecole d’Art et Design Geneva). With examples from contemporary art and design, sociology, philosophy, the spy novel, film and pop culture, Ricupero will show how espionage has evolved throughout time and played a major role in the political sphere of every country.

Oct 20 | David Reinfurt | A Post-Industrial Postscript 

With responses from Marcelo Coelho (MIT, Arch) and Pedro Zylbersztajn (SMACT ’18)

David Reinfurt, an independent graphic designer in New York City, will report on his last six months in Rome as a fellow at the American Academy interrogating Bruno Munari’s Tetracono, a small, industrially produced artwork-product from 1965. 

Nov 13 | Postcommodity | The Repellent Fence and Beyond 

With responses from Dariel Cobb (MIT HTC) and Erin Genia (SMACT ’19)

Postcommodity will discuss their 2015 land art installation and socially engaged artwork Repellent Fence, and the implications of this work on their art practice, their future work, and the field of contemporary art as we approach the year 2043 (when the US transitions to a non-white majority).

Dec 4 | Judith Barry | A Discussion of Several Research-Based Projects

Introduction by Hashim Sarkis (MIT, Dean of SA+P), with responses from Eugenie Brinkema (MIT SHASS), Kristel Smentek (MIT HTC), and Emily Watlington (SMArchS ‘18)

Judith Barry utilizes a research-based methodology to explore a wide range of topics. Both the form and the content of her work evolve as the research proceeds. She often makes use of installation, in various forms and including exhibition design, as a way to combine many of her disparate interests.  These immersive environments are based on experiments incorporating architecture, sculpture, performance, theatre, film/video/new media, graphics, and interactivity.


Artistic Research Luncheon Series

Artists with unique international practices join ACT and the wider MIT community to discuss their respective approaches to work, research, and the formation of artistic intelligence. These included:

Matthew Ritchie
Wednesday, February 22

Tony Cokes
Monday, March 6

Judith Barry
Wednesday, March 15

Petteri Nisunen
Monday, March 20

Julia Scher
Tuesday, March 21

Tobias Putrih
Tuesday, April 4

Nida Sinnokrot
Monday, April 10

Iman Issa
Wednesday, April 12

Rosa Barba
Friday, April 14

Marc Downie
Monday, May 1

Newton Harrison
Wednesday, September 20

Hinrich Sachs
Monday, October 2

Dylan Gauthier
Monday, October 16

Arts on the Radar

On Friday, September 8, from 7:00 pm–11:00 pm in building E15, MIT’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT), the MIT List Visual Arts Center, the Program in Music and Theater Arts, and the Arts at MIT hosted the third annual Arts on the Radar: an evening of exhibitions, presentations, participatory art projects, DJs, dancing, and more, including:

  • Pecha Kucha sessions with ACT students from 7:00pm – 8:30pm in the ACT Cube (e15-001)
  • Live Music
  • BBQ from Redbones
  • Tours of the List Visual Arts Center galleries
  • An interactive art workshop with artist Elisa Hamilton from 7:00pm – 9:00pm
  • View art installations and demonstrations in the atrium lobbies and learn more about MIT’s exciting art community
  • Enter the lottery to borrow a work of art from the List’s Student Loan Art Program (SLAP)
  • Dance party in the ACT Cube (e15-001) from 9:00pm – 11:00pm, featuring DJs Jesse Kaminsky and Laura Genes!

ACT Graduate Open House

Considering a graduate degree in Art, Culture and Technology? ACT held a Graduate Open House in November, providing potential applicants with a chance to meet our faculty and students, familiarize with our program, and learn how to prepare application materials.

ACT 2017 Open House – Faculty Lectures from ACTMIT on Vimeo.